Dr. Matthias Eikermann is a Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, attending anesthesiologist and Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at BIDMC. Matthias joined the Department in 2017. He obtained his medical training at Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf, Germany, and has been practicing in the U.S. for more than 10 years. As an internationally-renowned clinical and outcomes researcher, Matthias is leading his own lab of postdoctoral research fellows and students at BIDMC, providing a broad field of research opportunities for BIDMC residents, fellows and faculty.

As the surgical volume increases steadily, Dr. Eikermann’s team has the vision of improving postoperative patient outcomes based on an individualized treatment approach. Outcomes that matter to daily living and quality of life after surgery and critical care are addressed in his research by three complementary approaches.

First, the investigation of highly granular pharmaco-physiological patient data to understand the effects of new treatments in vulnerable patients recovering from surgery: For example, Dr. Eikermann’s team analyzes the effects of low-dose Ketamine infusion on respiratory stimulation and transpulmonary pressure in ventilated ICU patients with the aim of identifying treatment approaches facilitating extubation readiness. 

Second, the utilization of meticulously generated electronic data bases allowing his team of statistical and epidemiological advisors to focus on the effects of various patient characteristics and intraoperative factors on postoperative outcomes: The wide range of endpoints of interest includes clinical outcomes, health-care utilization (e.g. 30-day readmission) as well as long-term outcomes such as mortality and functional independence. A current major focus of Dr. Eikermann’s group lies in the identification of surgical patients at increased risk of ischemic stroke after surgery. In 2017 and 2018, his team has published three papers characterizing migraine and a patent foramen ovale as risk factors of ischemic stroke in patients undergoing surgery(1-3). Postoperative respiratory complications represent a further clinically meaningful endpoint of interest. Dr. Eikermann’s team has shown various anesthesia- related factors to be associated with adverse respiratory outcomes, such as the intraoperative use of intermediate acting neuromuscular blocking agents(4).

Finally, the conduct of prospective clinical studies to verify and improve effectiveness and implementability of treatment strategies identified as promising in retrospective studies: For instance, Matthias’ team is currently evaluating the effects of mobilization dose on discharge disposition in critically ill stroke patients, as part of a multi-center, international study conducted at BIDMC, MGH, Italian, and German centers – a follow-up study of the “SOMS” trial published in 2016.(5) In the multicenter, international, randomized, placebo-controlled “MIDAS” trial, Matthias´ team is investigating the efficacy of Midodrine treatment for refractory hypotension in critically ill patients looking at endpoints duration of vasopressor treatment and ICU length of stay.(6)

Selected publications

  1. Timm FP, Houle TT, Grabitz SD, Lihn AL, Stokholm JB, Eikermann-Haerter K, et al. Migraine and risk of perioperative ischemic stroke and hospital readmission: hospital based registry study. BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2017;356:i6635.
  2. Ng PY, Ng AK, Subramaniam B, Burns SM, Herisson F, Timm FP, et al. Association of Preoperatively Diagnosed Patent Foramen Ovale With Perioperative Ischemic Stroke. Jama. 2018;319(5):452-62.
  3. Friedrich S, Ng PY, Platzbecker K, Burns SM, Banner-Goodspeed V, Weimar C, et al. Patent foramen ovale and long-term risk of ischaemic stroke after surgery. European heart journal. 2018.
  4. Grosse-Sundrup M, Henneman JP, Sandberg WS, Bateman BT, Uribe JV, Nguyen NT, et al. Intermediate acting non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents and risk of postoperative respiratory complications: prospective propensity score matched cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed). 2012;345:e6329.
  5. Schaller SJ, Anstey M, Blobner M, Edrich T, Grabitz SD, Gradwohl-Matis I, et al. Early, goal-directed mobilisation in the surgical intensive care unit: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016;388(10052):1377-88.
  6. Anstey MH, Wibrow B, Thevathasan T, Roberts B, Chhangani K, Ng PY, et al. Midodrine as adjunctive support for treatment of refractory hypotension in the intensive care unit: a multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled trial (the MIDAS trial). BMC anesthesiology. 2017;17(1):47.